For the first time in program history, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 4-0 in conference play after ending the Miami Hurricanes 21 home game win streak, beating them 67-62.
This was the 21st meeting between the Irish and the Hurricanes with the Irish now leading the all time series 11-10. Notre Dame had lost both meetings with the Hurricanes last year, losing by nine the first game and 18 points the second.
Miami has had an okay start to the season as they are now 11-4, losing to Syracuse, Iowa State, Florida and now Notre Dame with their most notable wins coming from Stanford and North Carolina State.
Regardless of their win-loss record, Miami possessed a dangerous and athletic roster capable of ending Notre Dame’s streak.
“They’re really physical drivers” said head coach Mike Brey, “they’re athletic and long”.
After three straight home wins against Pittsburgh, Louisville and Clemson, Notre Dame possessed lots of momentum entering this game and looked to find their offensive spark early.
It was a low scoring first half that included long offensive possessions, credited to Miami’s ability to pull down the offensive boards.
“They got to the offensive boards, which they’re gonna do because they’re really athletic and that hurt us” stated Mike Brey.
Notre Dame shot only 36.4% from the field and 14.3% from three point territory in the first half, which in part was due to Miami’s ability to stall Notre Dame’s offensive rhythm.
Miami and Notre Dame were deadlocked at 28 points going into half time, with the Irish needing to make some adjustments.
“I thought their [Miami] defence was great in the first half…Matt Farrell couldn’t get anything, and it was Miami’s defence. I was thrilled to be tied at half time and because we weren’t really in an offensive rhythm” said coach Brey “I thought we did a great job starting the second half”.
Notre Dame opened the second half with a 10-0 run capped by a monster dunk by Martinas Geben.
The Fighting Irish led by as much as 11 points in the second half before Miami would come back to make things interesting.
With the score tied at 61 with one minute and thirty five seconds remaining, Notre Dame’s Rex Pflueger would steal the ball from Miami’s Davon Reed, who would pass it to VJ Beachem for two.
Following a Miami time out, Bonzie Colson would send Miami to the free throw line, where they would make one of two before Steve Vasturia would become Mr.Clutch once again.
After fumbling a pass by Matt Farrell, Steve Vasturia would take it in side just as Miami was doing to them all game and would score two, putting the Irish up 65-62 with 11 second left.
VJ Beachem would steal the ball from Miami’s Bruce Brown to seal the deal as Notre Dame would go on to win 67-62.
Notre Dame finished the game shooting 37.3% from the field, 25% from beyond the arc, and 85.7% (12 for 14) from the charity stripe.
Notre Dame won the turnover battle against Miami as the Irish turned the ball over only six times compared to the Hurricanes who coughed up 13 possessions due in part to Notre Dame’s ability to steal the ball (nine times).
Steve Vasturia (10 points, six assists, six rebounds), VJ Beachem (13 points, four rebounds) and Matt Farrell (15 points, six assists, four rebounds) all scored double digit figures, while Bonzie Colson was only two points away from joining the club. Colson finished with eight points and 11 rebounds.
Martinas Geben scored six points and brought down three rebounds in 15 minutes of playing time, while Austin Torres led the bench in points, recording eight.
With Miami out of the way, Notre Dame has two remaining road games before returning home to take on Syracuse. The Fighting Irish will be traveling to Blacksburg, Virginia to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies. The game is set for Saturday January 14th at 2 PM EST, broadcasting live on the ACC Network.